Protein-rich foods are the building blocks for our kids’ growing bodies. While meat is the obvious provider it’s far from the only one. Dairy, grains, nuts, and beans, especially when combined, are big players when it comes to finding meat-free lunchtime alternatives that pack a punch. We’ve rounded up some of the best recipes to give kids the perfect protein pick-me-up. Flip through the slideshow to see them all.


Quinoa is a seed disguised as a grain—it's packed with protein and easy to cook. It's a common stand-in for rice or pasta but holds its own as a family meal when combined with veggies and dairy or tofu. This version of a hearty quinoa salad has a Greek twist with feta and olives but can easily be adapted to suit a different taste with sunflower seeds, edamame, and grated cheddar.

Photo: The Kitchen Snob

What meat-free proteins do you pack in the kids’ lunch box? Let us know in the comments below. 


— Emily Myers